What is “Sugar-Free”?
I use the term “sugar-free” to refer to desserts sweetened without any of the following ingredients, which contain high amounts of sugar (i.e. sucrose, or its component parts glucose and fructose). The following ingredients are NOT “sugar-free”:
Coconut or Palm Sugar
High Fructose Corn Syrup
*I use small amounts of honey, bananas, and blackstrap molasses in some of my recipes to enhance the flavor and texture. Those recipes are not strictly sugar-free. However, the carbohydrate count per serving of every dessert on this website is less than 10 grams net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus the fiber) per serving, making the desserts very low in sugar. If you’re on a strictly sugar-free plan then you can choose to avoid those recipes with honey and molasses. For reference, most regular desserts contain 20-40 grams of carbohydrates per serving!
You might hear any of the above listed sweeteners referred to as “healthy, natural alternatives to white sugar.” Regardless of the presence of any trace nutrients found in these sweeteners, they still contain the sugars glucose and fructose, and are NOT sugar-free! Consuming significant amounts of those sweeteners listed will prevent you from reaping the benefits of eating a low sugar (i.e. low fructose and glucose) diet.
Even if the above ingredients aren’t listed, be sure to check the ingredients label for anything ending in “–ose.” If an ingredient has that suffix, it contains sugar!
Why eat “Sugar-Free”?
I personally consume as little sugar as possible (not including fruit) because sugar triggers my appetite like no other food! Have you ever seen someone who can eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting? I am that person. Research shows that some people are much more prone to sugar addiction than others. It’s not just about willpower when it comes to controlling your portion sizes of sugary foods.
Readers of this blog left comments over at one of my old recipe posts explaining why they limit their sugar consumption. Feel free to share your own story below!
Here are some of my favorite nutrition science resources with information concerning the effects of sugar on the human body. I am not a medical professional, so nothing on this website constitutes medical advice. Please consult your own health care provider for advice on your unique situation before beginning any nutritional program.
Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes
New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great by Westman and Phinney
Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard K. Bernstein
Articles and Video Clips:
“Is Sugar Toxic?” (segment on 60 Minutes)
“A Reversal On Carbs” (article)
Fructose: Sweet, But Dangerous (article)
A Spoonful of Sugar (a post at the blog of Dr. Michael R. Eades, M.D.)
Sugar Is a Poison, Says UCSF Obesity Expert (article)
Stopping Addition to Sugar: Willpower or Genetics?